Sheffield Utd v Nottingham Forest: Championship playoff semi-final, first leg – live! | Championship

82 min: Blades change – Ben Osborn off, and the forward, Daniel Jebbison, is on.

80 min: Two men down for Forest. Yates’s shoulder looks done in, while Djed Spence looks to have cramped up. They both get back up, though look in some pain.

78 min: Stuart McCall, a man whose hairstyle hasn’t changed since 1987 – lucky man – looks on with Paul Heckingbottom, as they try to plot a Blades way back into this game. McCall is probably speaking in his Yorkshire rather than Scots accent.

77 min: Forest change: Sam Surridge off, Keinan Davis on. That’s a bad sign for Blades.

75 min: Ryan Yates, patched up for this game, is holding his shoulder and James Garner looks to be carrying a knock. A reminder that Forest are still 180 minutes off from the promised land after the final whistle here.

74 min: Steve Cook, such an experienced player, clears the danger once more. Forest’s back three have been excellent.

72 min: Sheffield United have played very well in this half and yet they fall further behind. Forest’s greater speed and hustle at the front has made the difference. Joe Lolley, just on as a sub, was the player who hassled Egan into making that error.

Goal! Sheffield United 0-2 Nottingham Forest (Johnson, 71)

Another Blades error sets up a Forest goal. John Egan gets caught on the ball, and it slips to Brennan Johnson, who keeps his cool and roofs the ball into the net.

69 min: Those subs are made: Zinckernagel off for Lolley for Forest. And Norwood off for Blades, and Baldock on, pushing Ben Osborn up to the midfield.

68 min: Joe Lolley is imminent for Forest, with Zinckernagel to come off. George Baldock is coming on for Blades. Forest get on the attack, with Johnson having the ball cleared away by Stevens and behind for a corner.

66 min: John Fleck tries a free-kick routine with Norwood, that Forest reads but the ball still comes back in, and Cook has to clear. Then Robinson fires wide. Getting closer, the Blades.

64 min: Samba has to paw the ball away as it’s launched into the Forest box. Looks like Steve Cooper is going to make a Forest change. His team is coming under all sorts of pressure. Coops looks a bit worried.

62 min: Anyway, it’s all Blades, but they are yet to force a proper chance. Ollie Norwood is conducting traffic in his usual way. Gibbs-White’s flick is deflected away as Forest begin to defend deeper and deeper. Blades force a corner.

60 min: On the Sky TV broadcast, they have just shown Mark Labbett, a “Blades fan and TV celebrity.” I wondered who on Earth that was, feeling like a High Court judge for a moment then realized that The Beast off The Chase. Phew. How do you do, fellow kids?

59 min: More Blades pushing, with Gibbs-White launching a shot that is little problem for Samba. Then, in a return to the pattern of the first half, Djed Spence sets off and forces a corner for Forest. It’s a corner wasted because the ball spins out of play.

57 min: Forest a little more circumspect here. Or just waiting for the counterattack? It’s a bit of both, probably.

55 min: Good football from Blades, and Gibbs-White sets up Berge, who whacks wide. Better from the home team. Sheffield United are, let us recall, missing most of their attacking line-up, and Paul Heckingbottom has needed to improvise.

53 min: Worrall has a blocked shot and that sets off a Blades attack and Worrall himself hurles back to clear the danger in robbing Gibbs-White. Oliver Norwood is meanwhile booked for smashing over Jack Colback.

51 min: Joe Pearson is back: “Zinkernagel is on loan from Watford. So, even if Forest get promoted, he probably ends up back in the Championship? Sucks to be him. ”

49 min: More Blades attacking as Steve Cook comes across to deny Chris Basham. Forest have defended well while also looking a bit nervous with it.

47 min: Blades start with a head of steam, as if they have had a good pinch of, er, snuff. Enda Stevens almost getting on the end of a Norwood ball. The problem is that Forest set off on another of those wildcat counters and John Egan has to hurry back to clear the danger.

46 min: John Denver and Annie’s Song sends us back underway.

You fill up my senses,

Like a gallon of Magnet,

Like a packet of Woodbines,

Like a good pinch of snuff,

Like a night out in Sheffield,

Like a greasy chip butty,

Like Sheffield United,

Come fill me again

Na na na na na … Ooooohh!

Ok, a correction, though one I was prepared for, and thanks to Stephen Gibb and Andrew Bartlett for setting me straight. There WILL be VAR at the playoff final at Wembley. That will clear everything up, then …

From the BBC:

VAR will be introduced for the 2021-22 Championship play-off final at Wembley for the first time, the English Football League has confirmed.

Meanwhile, the league says “discussions remain ongoing” over the use of VAR in the League One and League Two finals.

Half-time: Sheffield United 0-1 Nottingham Forest

Jack Colback’s goal the difference but it could have been many, many more. Forest had chance after chance and their goal only came when Ben Osborn slipped and Colback could not miss on Forest’s second bite of the cherry. It’s nervous, it’s dirty, it’s the playoffs.

45 + 2 min: Blades concentrating on getting to half-time by defending in numbers. Going in only a goal down would not be a bad outcome.

45 min: The Bramall Lane PA announcer is feeding back like the Jesus & Mary Chain’s Taste The Floor but we are told it’s three more minutes of this half.

44 min: Hello, it’s going off. Jack Robinson of Blades and Djed Spence of Forest get in a tangle, both are booked for leaving their boots where they needn’t be. Quite a few yellows stacking up now.

42 min: Forest have Blades pinned back but Gibbs-White tries to get away, and he’s brought down by Zinckernagel, who takes the booking for a tactical foul.

40 min: Foderingham keeping Blades in this, making a fine save from Spence. What a game he’s had. On the sidelines, Steve Cooper’s eyes are even wider than normal – this may still be a choke in the offing. Forest could be as many as four goals up.

39 min: Joe Pearson Again: “Since the playoff finals will be at Wembley, will they use VAR? ”

Believe the answer is no but prepared to be corrected on that.

38 min: Johnson, released by Zinckernagel and Surridge, on another of those Forest breaks. Foderingham is beaten but so is the post. Forest piling up the chances.

Nottingham Forest’s Brennan Johnson streets a missed chance. Photograph: Martin Rickett / PA

36 min: Ryan Yates – big miss – it came from Worrall’s great ball, and that should have been 2-0 to Forest. That’s the nerves. Forest keep making chances on the break but they will know they have to score one soon.

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